The Global Alliance for Innovative Learning (GAIL) experience of 2018 in the United States has been an extremely rewarding one for myself and every student involved. The team consists of 10 students, Mr. Albano, Ms. Kemp and Mrs. Fromholz. The annual conference was held at Kimball Union Academy located in Meriden, New Hampshire and this years theme was ‘Leadership & Ethical Decision Making’.
To prepare us for the experience the team held weekly meetings discussing the itinerary, logistics and activities that were to be undertaken. The primary goal of the group was to gain a global perspective and understanding of not only the United States but also the other schools attending the conference that came from six other countries (New Zealand, South Africa, India, Scotland, China and The United States).
The first week of the trip consisted of touring Los Angeles, Washington DC and New York. We all thoroughly enjoyed the cities and our eyes were opened on various equations seeing things that were foreign to us – such as the heavy carrying of guns. Personally, I will not forget seeing a priest who could barely walk protesting peacefully in front of the White House put in handcuffs. Other than viewing different things like this on that week, we all found the experiences invaluable. On my part, seeing Wall Street was a rousing experience for me as I am fascinated by the world of finance. However, at the end of the tour fragment of the trip we had grown together and we felt like brothers and sisters – we became a family.
We arrived to Kimball Union Academy (KUA) and instantly we were warmly welcomed by their staff and students. The second week of the trip was composed of various collaboration with students from around the world. Not only did we gain a stronger global understanding but also a further understanding of ourselves. We all bonded and formed close friendships with other students and fully involved ourselves in all aspects of the activities. KUA = provided us the opportunity to tour Dartmouth College (a prestigious Ivy League College) which was incredibly interesting. Other than the friendships gained during the week, we gained skills in workshops and understandings of working environments that will trail us in life. We grasped the scope of our personal ethics and understand that everyone has different ethical guidelines and all of us led in discussion and displayed the true colours of Scotch College.
Upon return, we aim to promote the GAIL message throughout the younger years growing the GAIL family, and hope that they take full advantage of what the GAIL program can offer in the upcoming years
Attending the GAIL convention this year was honestly one of the best experiences I have had at Scotch so far. Going into it I was quite nervous as I was one of the two year 10’s going, but I actually think that was good for me in the long run as I got to know the year 11’s really well. The first week of sightseeing before the conference gave us an insight into American culture and we got to see many places ‘shown in the movies’. While at the convention we got so many opportunities to explore the overarching theme of Leadership and Ethical Decision Making. I personally enjoyed the dilemma workshops because they were so hands on. It also allowed me to work on my public speaking skills and expressing ideas which was one of my goals when applying last year. Consistently we were told that what we put into it, would be what we got out of it and as the convention went on this became very clear to us all. One of my favourite parts was sharing a dorm with two girls from different schools and I think this put many people out of their comfort zone. Overall, I would highly recommend this to any upcoming students as it honestly is one of the best life experiences you can get.
You hear the clichés: “It was a once in a lifetime experience.”, “something I will never forget.”, “A life-changing experience.” and the GAIL trip does not disappoint. Going into the trip I had a limited understanding of how that week would proceed. Obviously, I had read the itinerary, I knew I was going to meet people, learn something new. But you cannot prepare for how you feel, the connections you make and the challenges you face and this I believe is the true value of the trip. The things you don’t expect to learn and the observations you only realise days, weeks or months later continue to have a lasting impact on how you conduct yourself henceforth. Spending time living with kids from around the world and conversing topics that challenge not only the way you think but how you think provide the opportunity to discover yourself and the world in which we all live. The different perspectives and diverse opinions surprised me. It forced me to consider the impact of how actions and decisions affect a diverse population, this is particularly important in our global society. In my opinion, this is the basis of an ethical decision. It was not just the differences that were striking, the similarities between people are equally as interesting. As we discussed superficial observations such as accents, food choices and how hot the weather was, it was evident that common ground between individuals was a common occurrence over which many friends were made. Looking back over this truly defining experience, it is easy to see how this journey has contributed so much to the people it has touched.
The conference was amazing learning about real life ethical decisions and how to become a better leader really inspired me. It has taught me many things that I will not forget and how many of your own actions can reflect and have an affect on others.
GAIL, This experience is full of so many new precious and priceless memories. This trip has been a wake up call to the opportunities Scotch College offers students. Truly a wakeup call and has shown me that my dreams can become a reality. Studying at prestigious colleges and universities overseas does not seem at all far-fetched anymore. The rapid rate the world is growing and the level of globalization is increasing it is imperative to understand other cultures and be exposed to different views and other ways of thinking. With this exposure my knowledge has definitely been broadened. My views and opinions have changed being exposed to different perspectives on certain issues, being more open minded and understanding of other people. The ethical decisions and aspects of the conference, were extremely interesting and thought provoking. Developing my critical thinking and giving me new tools to analyse ethical decisions. My highlight of the trip was being able to make so many new long lasting friendships and new global connections for the future.
GAIL for me has been a once in a lifetime experience that has changed the way that I see the world and myself. This experience has allowed me to connect with others and make lifelong friends. The first couple of days of the trip I felt on edge most of the time however as time went on I felt more comfortable with the people that surrounded me. All the museums that we visited definitely helped me get a broader understanding of America. With the help of Ms. Kemp, my general knowledge and math skills skyrocketed. All the memorials and galleries were extremely interesting and answered many questions that I had about America.
The conference was amazing and by far the best part of the trip for me. This was because of all the knowledge that I gained about ethical decision making and because of all the long-lasting friendships that were formed. The conference allowed me to broaden my knowledge and get a better understanding of ethical decision making. The friends that I made on the conference were amazing at helping my nervousness and KUA was incredibly welcoming. All the lectures and workshops were fascinating and helped when it came to solving ethical dilemmas. The best part of the week for me was getting to know everyone and resolving the ethical dilemmas, this is because both of these things were challenging and allowed me to leave my comfort zone. Saying goodbye at the end of the week was by far the hardest thing of the trip. I made incredibly strong connections with students at the conference and saying goodbye was very bittersweet.
The GAIL experience was amazing and the best 2 weeks of my life. It was the best decision applying for the conference. I would not change it for a thing!